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GQ Best Stuff Box Fall 2021 Subscription Review

Everything in this months box, including a bar of soap, eye drops, two face masks, cologne, face moisturizer, scalp scrubber, and two paper vouchers. One for coffee and the other for a long sleeve shirt.

GQ Best Stuff Box
3.1 overall rating
26 Ratings | 8 Reviews

The GQ Best Stuff Box is a quarterly men’s subscription from GQ magazine that’s $50 a box with free shipping. The box features $200 worth of products the editors have curated after testing and finding them to be the best in their class. Although this subscription is geared towards men, women love it for themselves as well.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

First Impressions

 

My first thought about this quarter’s box was that it seemed a little empty, which usually means one thing: vouchers. I find vouchers bittersweet. On one hand, you get to pick a size, style, and/or color that fit you and your personality. On the other hand, it means more waiting. I think the good outweighs the bad and waiting for a little longer isn’t all that bad.

The GQ Best Stuff box always comes with a fold-out info sheet that lists the included items and a little bit about each. It also tells you where you can purchase the item on the internet, along with the listed price. This quarter’s box is all about preparing for the change in seasons. The box includes a long-sleeve tee, coffee, and a multitude of personal care products.

Inside the GQ Best Stuff Box Fall 2021 Box

Knickerbocker Organic-Cotton Long-Sleeve T-Shirt – Listed Value $105.00

 

This quarter’s main item is a lightweight, long-sleeve tee from Knickerbocker. The box included a voucher so subscribers could choose their preferred size and pick one of three colors: blanc, moonstone, or pageant. I went with third option in a medium. For the record, I’m 5’9″. My first impression is that I really liked the shirt. It’s exactly the kind of shirt I would buy for myself or, more accurately, my wife would buy for me. It’s simple, quality, and perfect for those Autumn days when it’s cool one hour and warm the next. It’s pre-shrunk, 100% cotton. The sleeves are a little long for my arms, but not to an annoying degree. My favorite outfit is jeans and a long-sleeve shirt, so this is perfect for me. Plus I received it the first week I could actually wear it, now that the temperature here in Pennsylvania is reasonable.

Much like last season’s sunglasses, the price of this shirt is gargantuan compared to the others in this box. The next closest item is the face moisturizer (see below) which is $49. I was surprised at the tee’s high price. I would have never guessed how much it cost if someone had asked me. While I love the shirt and it’s perfect for me, I didn’t find it overly special and I think you’d be able to find a comparable shirt for less if you were to buy one. No matter the cost, it was awesome to receive this killer shirt in this box for a fraction of the price. Check out the value breakdown below to see how much this shirt costs as part of the subscription cost.

These tees are exclusively for GQ subscribers. The closest-looking shirt I could find was this heavyweight long-sleeve tee. It also costs $105. I can’t be sure of the difference, but if it’s the same price, heavyweight sounds nice for late-Autumn.

Trade Coffee Free Bag – Listed Value Ranges from $15-$22 (with subscription)

 

There is a second voucher for a free bag of coffee (with a subscription) via Trade Coffee. Subscribers take a quick, seven-question quiz to determine which coffee is best for their lifestyle (see slideshow below). Trade offers more than 400 different coffees, which are delivered to your door fresh from the roasters themselves. I am currently a traditional, pour-over, black coffee guy. I was paired with Irving Farm out of NYC and their Brazilian blend called “Fazenda Vassourão.” I ordered my coffee on Saturday, it was roasted on Monday, and I received it on Thursday. I immediately brewed myself a cup and have to say it was a perfect match. Although the coffee is sent from the roaster, it comes wrapped in a Trade bag with a small booklet about the subscription. If I was in the market for a coffee subscription, I would seriously consider Trade.

While I’m impressed with the coffee and vast selection, I am considerably unimpressed by requiring people to subscribe to receive this offer. You can cancel any time but you will have to enter your credit card information and make a password for the site to order the coffee. If you choose to stay subscribed, you pick the frequency you’d like to receive your caffeine fix. You can also easily change any of your preferences. The value of this offer will depend on the price of the coffee you choose. For the record, mine was $22.50.

Ralph Lauren Ralph’s Club Eau De Parfum (0.25 oz.) – Estimated Value $15

 

I’ve been wearing the same cologne for 6-7 years. And when I say the same cologne, I mean literally the same bottle. I do not wear it very often and do not pay it much attention. However, I was quite impressed with this tiny, but mighty bottle of Ralph’s Club by Ralph Lauren. The smell of it immediately caught the attention of my wife and that’s enough of a sell for me. It smells cool, smooth, and mature, which is also how I would describe the bottle. The top looks like it hinges open, but that is a ruse. The whole thing just pulls off. I wonder if the larger bottles actually make use of the hinge? I only wish it was a full size bottle, but those are quite expensive. A decade from now when I am in the market for another bottle of cologne, I will definitely be looking into a bottle of Ralph’s Club.

A 1 Oz. bottle of this fragrance runs $60. Since this is a 0.25 oz. sample, I’ve estimated the price at $15.

Wolf Project Detox + Hydrating Mask (2 Pack) – Estimated Value $11.80

 

I have tried the Wolf Project hydrating mask in a SprezzaBox back in November 2020. I liked it then and I like it now, although I’m currently growing out my beard, which gets in the way of face masks. In fact, the mud mask comes in two parts and the lower part was basically a lost cause on me. I took a photo, but it looked like my skin is peeling off, so I’m going to delete it. Despite my inability to wear them properly (I don’t wear face masks very often), the masks left my face feeling cool, clean, and rejuvenated. I always enjoy getting one in a box, because I can write the review while I’m wearing it.

Wolf Project sells these masks in a pack of five. They either cost $24.50 if you subscribe or $29.50 for a one-time purchase. I chose the latter price for my value estimate.

Oribe Flash Form Finishing Spray Wax (0.85 oz.) – Estimated Value $8.50

 

This finishing spray wax goes in your dry hair and does a great job of holding your hair without gunking it up. I’ve used wax for my hair before and often did a poor job of spreading it nice and evenly. If I had known this spray was an option, I definitely would have gone for it instead. Unfortunately, I do not have long enough hair at the moment to really see the benefits of this spray, but I did use it and found it great for forming what hair I have without a lot of product. It smells lovely to boot.

A full, 4.2 oz.-size can of this item costs $42. For this 0.85 oz. can, I estimated the cost at $8.50

Geologie Everyday Face Wash (1 oz.) – Estimated Value $12.50

 

This face wash has the consistency of honey and I like it. I enjoyed the thick lather and, like everything else it this box, it smells great. Geologie actually offers a few kinds of “everyday face wash,” including unscented exfoliating, sensitive skin, and desert cedar. I believe subscribers are getting the last option. The information sheet in this box and the bottle itself include a link for exclusive offers for subscribers.

To purchase this item from their website will cost $25 for two bottles. So I estimated the value for the single bottle at $12.50.

Naturelab. Tokyo Scalp Scrub (1 oz.) – Estimated Value $2.10

 

This item immediately caught my attention when I open this box. I’ve never heard of or considered a scalp scrub. It has the consistency of kinetic sand but is much more course. The scrub creates a bubbly lather unlike anything I’ve used before. There were so many suds I was certain I had left shampoo in my hair, but this was the first product I used. I wasn’t sure if you use this instead of shampoo. The instructions say to apply to wet hair and then use conditioner afterward, so maybe? This product was wonderful for me, since I don’t have a lot of hair at the moment, but wonder how much you’d have to use if you had a lot of hair. Either way, I really enjoyed this exfoliating, lathering product. I could see myself buying this.

A full-size, 8.1 oz. jar of this product costs $17. So I estimated this 1 oz. sample at $2.10.

Beast Light Exfoliating Body Bar – Retail Value $9.00

 

I prefer bar soap over gel and love, love, love receiving a bar in a box. While I usually go for the unscented soap, the smell of this scrub is absolutely incredible. I cannot put my finger on it, but I love it. Like Vick’s Vapo Rub, but not overpowering. The website called the fragrance “Beast Blue,” which isn’t very helpful. The scent itself is quite invigorating and the feel of the scrub is refreshing. Like the name suggests, it is just enough exfoliation to make a difference, without sanding your skin off. I’m usually quick it say I like an item, but probably won’t buy it. However, Beast soaps are now definitely on my radar.

Maapilim Face Moisturizer – Retail Value $49.00

 

I am actually familiar with Maapilim from my first Bespoke Post box “Kempt” back in March. Although I received that box by mistake, it ended up being great and I liked every item. So I was pumped to receive another one of Maapilim’s products. Like those products, this face moisturizer smells incredible. I thought for sure this was another sample in this box, but it is in fact full size. The 1 oz. bottle is the second most expensive product in this quarter’s box. While it’s a little out of my price range, I was impressed with this product and was glad it was included in this quarter’s box.

Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier (3 pack) – Estimated Value $4.69

 

The only time I ever use flavor packets like these is when I am trying them for reviews. I’m not exactly active enough to require extra hydration, but if you are one of those active people, these may be up your alley. The box claims using one pack of this mix-in powder in one glass of water is like drinking three. They come in flavors like lemon lime, watermelon, and strawberry. They also included five essential vitamins, are vegan, and have “three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks.”

These packets cost $25 for a 16-count. So I estimated the price for three at $4.69.

Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops – Listed Value $15.00

 

I am terrible at using eye drops. I can never figure out where my eye is, so I have to drop it in the pit of my eye and just blink a lot. GQ says this is the only over-the-counter eye drops to contain low-dose brimonidine, which dramatically recedes redness in less than one minute, and lasts up to eight hours. Lumify’s website does not sell this product directly but it’s available here at Target.com for $12.99.

HBO Max 3-Month Discount – Estimated Value $7.50 or $11.75

 

Included in the box is a voucher for 25% three months of HBO Max. My wife and I have HBO and enjoy it. I recently finished “100 Foot Wave” and “The Suicide Squad.” Both were great, btw. They also have DC Comics, Turner Classic Movies, and Studio Ghibli films. I’m also a big fan of Westworld. The point is, they have a lot of great stuff that you can’t find anywhere else. If you were on the fence about subscribing, maybe this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

If you’ve read my reviews in the past, you may remember that I am not a fan of including temporary membership/subscriptions as part of the value of the box. This one is even more to that point, because it’s only a discount on a temporary sub. Subscriptions are $10 with ads or $15 without ads. So I estimated the value of this voucher by taking 25% of each subscription and multiplied for three months. If you decide to use this voucher, it’s worth noting that your subscription to HBO Max will continue at the no-ad price at the end of the promotional period.

Verdict

This was a strange box from GQ Best Stuff. It had an incredible $266 estimated value and yet it just felt like a bunch of expensive samples. I was impressed by every single one and I like to try new things, but I prefer when GQ includes full-size products and items that I can keep and use, like this dopp kit, this wallet, or this GQ Nalgene that I initially didn’t like but now use it all the time. After a few weeks of using these products, the only things that will remain are the eye drops, that part of the bar of soap you can’t really use but don’t want to just throw away, and the cologne, which I can probably stretch out for a year. The shirt is amazing and I’m going to wear it every day I can. While I am not likely to purchase a shirt like it for $105, getting a pricey tee is the benefit of a subscription like GQ. For $50, you’re getting a ton of value and you might find a product or two you’ll continue to use.

However, if I had my choice, I’d prefer fewer full-size items over many samples. Take the Spring 2021 Box for example: comfy sweats, the aforementioned Nalgene, six full-size items, and a temporary subscription I’m not counting. It was $240, but felt fuller, satisfying, and more thoughtful. Perhaps, for this box, instead of a bag of coffee, they could have included a mug or other coffee item. Or keep the coffee and drop the face moisturizer, which could pay for a three bag subscription from Trade. I appreciate that GQ wants to provide an array of products to try and let us make our own decisions, but I think a focused, well-curated box with a few gentlemanly items we can keep will be more satisfying. Still, it’s hard to argue with what you get for $50.

Keep track of your subscriptions by adding this box to your subscription list or wishlist.

Let’s Talk About Value

The estimated total value of this box clocks in at $266. Which is an incredible value and five times the cost of the subscription. This is the highest cost since the Fall box from last year, which was $284.

For $50 for this box, here’s approximately what you’re paying for each item:

  • Long Sleeve Tee ($105): $19.74
  • Coffee ($22): $4.14
  • Eau de Parfum ($15): $2.82
  • Masks ($11.80): $2.22
  • Spray Wax ($8.50): $1.60
  • Face Wash ($12.50): $2.35
  • Scalp Scrub ($2.10): $0.39
  • Soap Bar ($9): $1.69
  • Face Moisturizer ($49): $9.21
  • Hydration Packets ($12): $2.26
  • Eye Drops ($4.69): $0.88
  • HBO Max Subscription Discount ($11.75): $2.21

To Wrap Up

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, the Fall 2021 box is available now.

Would you grab the Fall 2021 GQ Best Stuff Box for a guy in your life… or yourself?

The GQ BEST STUFF BOX is a quarterly subscription box featuring the things we love—rigorously tested and loved by GQ editors. It includes our favorite electronics, grooming products, and accessories—every box valued at over $200 each
Carlos Lamborn
Carlos Lamborn
Carlos is a husband and father of two. He likes coffee, beer, camping, disc golf, a good box cutter, and the accomplishment of even the most menial home-owning task. Carlos is new to the world of subscription boxes and loves the wonderment of receiving them in the new mailbox he just spent all day installing.

Carlos Lamborn
Carlos Lamborn
Carlos is a husband and father of two. He likes coffee, beer, camping, disc golf, a good box cutter, and the accomplishment of even the most menial home-owning task. Carlos is new to the world of subscription boxes and loves the wonderment of receiving them in the new mailbox he just spent all day installing.
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16 comments

Britteny

I am constantly searching for sub boxes to convince my SO that they’re actually awesome and not a waste.. and let me just say that your review has FINALLY sold me on a men’s version to commit to. During my initial scroll and skim I thought this box was borderline offensive for the $ spent- but I love the honesty in your review, as well as your follow up impressions on an item that may have initially been disappointing.

Carlos Lamborn

It means a lot to hear you actually read what I said and that it made a difference. I do try. Thanks for commenting.

V

Although I’m not the target audience for this box I really appreciated the reviewer’s frank and candid impression of the items while sharing personality.

Carlos Lamborn

Thank you. Comment anytime.

Maddie in PA

This is a fantastic sub box review, Carlos so thank you!

I do have to agree with your overall assessment that it feels like lots of samples. Quality samples but samples none the less.

I was on the fence about getting this for my college senior son but I don’t like the idea of him putting his credit card number in and then potentially forgetting to cancel in time to avoid being charge. I like that one can define their coffee taste to have fresh beans tailored to them but it should be a certificate for a free pound (or whatever it is) of coffee, not starting another sub.

Carlos Lamborn

I agree, but for what it’s worth, it was rather easy to cancel. I wouldn’t let this one situation stop you from signing your son up. It’s typically a pretty solid subscription. Thanks for the comment.

Erika

Excellent review. I feel the same way. Very annoying to have to subscribe to the coffee. Seems like a box of samples these companies would give out anyway.

Carlos Lamborn

I agree completely. Thanks for commenting.

Curtis Wilson

This was my final GQ best stuff box. I really enjoyed some of the previous boxes.. the sweatpants, sunglasses and blanket I received are used daily. That said, I feel like this box was just a jumble of free samples and advertisements with a shirt thrown in. Nothing about this box felt special or unique enough to keep my attention.

Carlos Lamborn

You summed it nicely. Did you request the bag of coffee? Signing up stinks, but the coffee I was paired with was very good. Thanks for commenting.

Zo

This was the last box of an annual for my son. He’s 21 and doesn’t go so much fo the skincare and there has been a lot the past few boxes. However, when I asked if he wanted me to renew foe another year he said yes.

He ordered the shirt the day his box arrived but blue was sold out in his size so he ordered the yellow. It arrived quickly and it’s actually a pretty yellow, more golden. The sleeves are long on him as well.

I wish the scalp scrub was full size. I snagged that item.

Carlos Lamborn

That’s a bummer about the shirt, especially because subscribers get their boxes at different times. I see that blue is sold out in XS, XL, and XXL. Yellow is sold out in XS. White is still available in all sizes. I feel the same way about the skincare stuff. I don’t buy it for myself, but I almost always enjoy what I receive in this Subscription. Thanks for commenting. Hope you and your son continue to enjoy this sub.

Jody E

I don’t think this is a good box. It has a lot of Allure box items included. I didn’t like the voucher for the coffee. I had already tried Trade. The shirts are another boring overpriced item which they will run out of sizes. GQ needs to do better. I liked it for the cost but not this time. Just my two cents. Thanks for reviewing.

Carlos Lamborn

I agree that this is one of my least favorite GQ efforts, which is still strange, because I liked everything and the value was nice, but I didn’t feel satisfied. I do like the shirt though. Thanks for commenting.

Erinn

Great review! Really thorough and honest. I agree with your take on the coffee voucher – great to get a free bag, but I hate having to put in my credit card info.

Carlos Lamborn

The coffee was great and the site is awesome. I just wish maybe GQ could have sprung for a three-month subscription rather than just the one, in place of a few personal care products. Thanks for commenting.

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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.